I had a complete meltdown yesterday. I took an all-day seminar at the SBA entitled, “Writing Effective Business Plans” and immediately began to feel that it was a mistake to start my business. A horrible mistake. It dawned on me that my job for the next year is going to consist solely of digging myself out of the hole I’m in. By the time our lunch break rolled around I was already having heart palpitations so I went outside for a walk. In the window of Stacey’s bookstore, a book entitled, Get a Life That Doesn’t Suck caught my eye. I headed straight for it, telling myself I was doing reconnaissance for my sister, not me. The chapters had titles like “Start. Do it Now,” “Think Good Thoughts” and “Have Fun! Celebrate Life.” Useless. I put it down and went back to class, where I listened to the really smart and successful-sounding comments of my classmates. One woman named Suzanne told me how lucky she felt that the business plan class was happening just a week after she quit her job to start a business. She had four or five business ideas she liked, she said, and now she was going to plug in the numbers in order to decide which one was most likely to succeed, and therefore, which one she should start with. I almost threw up. Why didn’t I think of that a year ago before I got myself into this mess?
As soon as I got home I began a panicked rant around the living room, starting with a list of all the reasons why I was never going to get rid of my inventory in time, and quickly progressing to the declaration that my entire life is pointless, I contribute nothing to the world, and I am a complete waste of space. I was seized with the immediate and overwhelming desire to recalibrate my life and develop a new long-term plan — now. It was already 10pm, but how could I sleep that night knowing that in the morning I would have to begin completely changing my life?
Whenever I find myself in a crisis and don’t know how to proceed, my first instinct is to educate myself. I don’t like to make choices, especially life-changing choices, without feeling fully informed by the “experts” first. So the place I turned last night was to a well-used copy of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. GTD is best used as an organizational and time-management system, but I remember reading a chapter (#3, it turns out) about forming plans of action, from small projects (the view from 10,000 feet), to major life goals (the view from 50,000 feet). The chapter lays out a step-by-step plan for accomplishing a comprehensive life review, which made me feel better about not have a plan myself. “You’ll notice that a natural organization [emerges],” it told me. So, after getting a few things out of my head and down on paper, and after committing to also read The Now Habit and The Four-Hour Workweek, I went to bed.
And that’s where I am this morning, standing at the edge of a giant precipice, ready to take the leap. I’ll let you know what I find at the bottom.